With the UK property market as competitive as it’s ever been, it’s more important than ever to find the best estate agent for your needs. However, this can be tricky, especially if you’re moving to a new area or if this is your first time in the market. To help you pick out the right company to work with, here are five questions to ask.
How many properties do they list?
In a market as competitive as property, if one company is picking up the lion’s share of interest, there’s probably a good reason for that. It’s therefore a good idea to check how many properties are on the books of each estate agent operating in the local area. Check to see how popular each agent is for sellers listing the kind of property most relevant to you – a company that lists mostly executive apartments may not be right for you to use to sell a suburban semi-detached house.
Who is dominant in the local area?
Local knowledge is enormously important for an estate agent – features that might be ideal for buyers in one area might have little relevance in another. A good way to see which companies appreciate local factors is to take a trip around town and check out the “For Sale” boards. Even in today’s digital age, physical representation like this is important to attract notice from potential buyers. It’s also a quick and fuss-free way to learn which agents are popular with local people. Pay particular attention to boards in areas similar to those relevant to you.
What’s the buzz online?
Increasingly in recent years, the focus of the property market has moved online. Not only do almost all estate agents now have a significant online presence, the rise of social media has meant it’s easier than ever for customers to share their own experiences and opinions. While you should treat the most extreme reviews with a pinch of salt, you can easily get a general feel for how people feel about the service they’ve received, the fees they’ve paid and so on. Especially valuable are reviews where the customer has picked out specific factors that attracted them to a particular agent.
What do your friends have to say?
Even though looking online can be useful, you do face the problem of having to rely on the words of people you’ve probably never met. A great way around this problem is to ask your friends to share their own experiences with estate agents they’ve used. Being able to talk face to face will let you pick their brains in a way that just isn’t possible with online reviewers. You’re also likely to get unvarnished, entirely candid opinions, since your friends know they can trust you with information they might not be comfortable placing online for everyone to see.
How long do properties take to sell?
However impressive an estate agent’s presentation and however competitive its pricing, that won’t mean much if it struggles to sell properties in a reasonable time. Sellers and buyers alike will become frustrated if the process drags on, especially if the delays are avoidable. You can get a good idea of an estate agent’s efficiency by checking with Zoopla or Yopa. This will allow you discover the average amount of time that a particular estate agent takes to process a property; armed with this information, you can take a more informed decision.